First let me say thanks to those who took the time and voted, the results were a huge part of these power rankings. Some teams are so close to each other in qulity and performance that it was really hard to put one over the other but with the votes it was much easier.
Here are the top 10 clubs in Hunter going into S9
1. San Francisco Night Demons (116-46) – No surprises here, even after the poor showing in S8 playoffs they will remain on top of the power rankings, personally I don’t think it’s even that close. The fact they won S6 and S7 WS combined with 116 win in S8 (13 wins better than any other franchise) proves they are still the best. The main part of this team is the pitching staff that finished season 8 with 3.03 team ERA, 1.12 team WHIP and .228 team OAV, is that crazy or is it just me? Some franchises don’t have a single pitcher put up these numbers not to mention entire staff doing it. Think about this, having a starter put up those numbers would be pretty sweet but we’re talking about the entire pitching staff doing it!
2. Scottsdale Aces (93-69) – Scottsdale stormed into the 2nd spot on the power rankings after their Championship run last season. The regular season record may not be as good as other teams ranked below them but they showed in the playoffs that regular season record doesn’t really matter. Let me point out that on their way to the Championship the Aces swept the Night Demons 3-0 in the DCS than beat up on very strong Sluggers club 4-2 in the LCS and took down the best team in NL Caesars for the WS title. In short they beat the #1, #3 and #4 teams on this ranking, need I say more?
3. Augusta Caesars (101-61) – In the 1st season of new ownership Augusta comes 2 games away from winning the WS. Augusta had to go through very tough NL on their way to the NL crown, they beat a very good up coming Salt Lake 3-2 in DPS, than took care of the very strong San Juan TCB club 3-2 in DCS, next in the LCS they beat up on very talented Charlotte team 4-2 and lost in the WS. Since they beat the next best two NL teams on the rankings and currently hold the NL crown, the #3 spot belongs to them.
4. Louisville Sluggers (103-59) – Personally I thought this is one of very few teams that could give San Fran a run for their money. The Sluggers strength in S8 was their pitching staff ranked 3rd in Hunter with 3.99 team ERA and 1.32 team WHIP. There’s also a guy by the name of Magglio Javier playing on this team who btw won the AL MVP last season as in S5 and S7. He posted .340 BA, .402 OBP and 1,064 OPS in S8 for his 3rd MVP award.
5. San Juan TCB (103-59) – San Juan held the best record in the NL for the majority of season 8 but allowed Colorado to catch up by game 162. Going into the playoffs as the 2nd seed they fell short in the DCS losing 3-2 to the current NL Champ Augusta. The offenses last season was ranked #2 in the world and many may argue that it should be #1 . Last season they posted .299 team BA and .856 team OPS both 2nd best in Hunter with .374 team OBP that was tops. This line up is lead by S7 NL MVP Angel Bolivar who also may be the best pound for pound player in Hunter.
6. Colorado Blasters (103-59) – The Blasters are exactly what their name says, they will simply blast you away. We all know but I will point out that Colorado line up made legendary marks in S8 that may be difficult to reach again, just to name a few they hit 448 HR (177 more than 2nd team) with 1140 RBI and unreal .945 team OPS. If the pitching staff takes their game to another level and the line up keeps on hitting like last season this team could be almost unbeatable. Hitters like Johnson, Zhang, Grimsley, Iglesias and Hutton is what powered this team to 103 wins last season, NL best record.
7. Charlotte FatNasty (98-64) – Second year in a row FatNasty reached the NLCS and second year in a row it’s a losing outcome. Charlotte beat S7 NL Champ NY 3-2 in DPS, came on top over the very strong Colorado club 3-2 in the DCS before losing to Augusta 2-4 in NLCS. Charlotte is probably the best young talented team in Hunter, with players like Henriquez, Beamon, Guardado, Molina, Morga, Allen, Kondou, Benett all under 30 y.o. and many of them are under 26 y.o., the future look very bright.
8. New York Metropolitans (87-75) – Season 7 NL Champs came into S8 with high hopes but injuries and 16-29 record in 1-run games equaled to only 87 wins. Mets pitching staff is near the top in Hunter every season and is the strength of the team, the offense can hit as shown by their .289 team BA but the lack of power is the weak point of this team. Overall Metropolitans are a very solid clun top to bottom full of hight quality veterans mixed in with some very good young players, the expectations for S9 are as hight as they ever were.
9. Washington D.C. Generals (92-70) - The Generals fought Burlington for the top spot in the AL East the entire season and managed to finished 2 games ahead of the Black Sox for their 8th straight divison crown. In the playoffs it was a diffrent story as Burlington got the better of Washington by a 3-1 score in the DPS. Not reaching the ALCS is not what the Generals are use to as this was only the 2nd time in their 8 year history where they did not get at least to the ALCS. Let me repete that, Washington reached the ALCS 6 out of 8 seasons, not only are the a very good regural season team but they're also one of the best in the playoffs. Lets not forget about the 3 Championships they own, still most in Hunter by any franchise.
10. Pawtucket Patriots (90-72) - Pawtuckett in S8 won the AL North by 24 games and finished the regular seaosn with 90 wins. In the DPS the Patriots lost to Scottsdale 3-2 and will need to do more than just get to the playoffs if they want to move up on the rankings. One players that stands out on the team is Braden Cox who in 6 ML seasons hit 279 HR so far and is only 28 y.o. Braden won ROY in S3, ALMVP in S6 and went to the all star game 5 out of his first 6 seasons in the majors. With small improvements this team can not only get very good but they have the core to be one of the best in Hunter.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Dateline: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
As we begin the ninth season of Hunter world it seems appropriate to gather our thoughts and reflect on its storied history and perhaps discuss why this world establishes the HBD ideal of establishing true dynasties. Because this league has so many successful franchises, owners of "ordinary" teams have had a difficult time achieving long term success in this league. I am reminded of the movie "The Sandlot" where a group of baseball loving kids are menaced by the dog on the other side of the fence. If you are a member of Hunter, the attack dog on the other side of the fence is real. And if you are going to succeed you will have to tame the savage beast.
Hunter was founded 8 seasons ago. By my count, twelve of the original founders are still with us. Four owners joined after the first season; so sixteen owners have been in this league at least seven seasons. Imagine that. A small group of owners have enjoyed remarkable success through these eight seasons dominating both their divisions and the playoffs yearly. For example, the AL East and NL North have both been dominated by a single team winning all 8 seasons. Washington DC has never lost a division championship and neither has Augusta. The AL North, AL South, AL West, and NL West have been won by a single franchise seven of the eight years : Pawtucket, Louisville, San Francisco, and Colorado all have seven division titles. New York has six division tiles in the NL East. Only the NL South has not been clearly dominated by a single team as all four franchises have at least one division title; however San Juan does have four. Think of it, eight divisions for eight years means that sixty four separate titles have been won, but by only sixteen different franchises. That's dynasty building!!
The playoffs show a similar pattern. Four franchises have never missed the playoffs (Washington DC, Louisville, Augusta, San Francisco) and three teams have made the playoffs seven years (Burlington, Pawtucket, Colorado). When you stop and realize that only twelve teams enter the playoffs yearly, most of the years had those seven teams playing. Only five other teams (on average) could earn one of the remaining playoff spots. And indeed, six franchises have never been in the playoffs. (Rochester among them.) The World Series has also been dominated by these teams with Washington DC winning three, Colorado and San Francisco winning two apiece and last year Scottsdale won "The Ring".
Which brings us to the final point of this musing. Our wall of dynasties can be cracked. Scottsdale proved last year that new blood can climb the fence and tame the mongrel. In only his second playoff appearance, Oli35 came away a winner. And a chink in some of these franchises armor has got to start showing sometime soon. I mean, how long can Elvis Ogea, Felipe Bournigal, and Juan Gonzalez continue to play, although their pictures never seem to age?
But in the meantime Hunter World can bask in its knowledge that it is truly one of the premiere leagues in HBD. Some owners might find the challenge of Hunter too difficult. Those owners don't stay long. Good. This is a league for hardcore HBD lovers who wish to test their skills in developing true dynasties. The bar has been set high for all who dare to enter.